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View Diary: The Food Forest - Part I: Strategies for Green Urban Infrastructure (75 comments)

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    I had an interesting and related experience today.  I've just moved to a new city on the Great Lakes, no need to be more specific than that.  Not far from my house is a farmer's market.  It's a poor neighborhood, and on a weekday, there are only 4 or 5 sellers.

    I bought raspberries from one woman last week, and her raspberries were sitting on a table, but she was gone.  One of the other vendors explained that she was in her section of the community garden across the street.

    I walked over, and she was busy watering her raspberries and some pumpkin vines.  We talked for a while, and I had a chance to learn a little about what she was doing.

    This was located in an abandoned old asphalt parking lot.  She scrapes away the asphalt and puts down some cardboard and straw as a base.  She surrounds that with wood she scavenges to make raised bed.  Someone she knows hauls in two yards of topsoil from the country every once in a while.  She waters by stringing a hose across the street to the market building.

    She had some nice looking pumpkin vines, squash, and raspberries.  She had a tomato vine that was doing well.  She was getting a very late start with some pepper and additional tomato plants as well.  It was apparent that she had grown up in the city and was learning by doing.

    I was in awe of what she was doing and the progress she had made in this, her second season.  While I grew up on a farm in the Midwest with rich topsoil, plenty of manure and good tools, I have gardened in some less-than-deal spots later in life, but nothing like this.

    Next door was an older community garden, established with the help of the extension service.  I would guess there were 15 plots or so there, housed in some raised beds, some created with lumber but others with kiddie pools.

    There is a great hunger in our neighborhoods to do this kind of thing.  For one thing, access to fresh food is limited in many of our communities, and this is one way that people can deal with that by taking action themselves.  For another, I have always believed that working with the soil has many positive physical and psychological benefits--if we can stay away from the pesticides and herbicides.

    Thanks for the work you and your organization are doing.  Once I am better settled, I hope to be involved in helping my neighborhood get started with a community garden as well.

    "Capitalism is irresponsibility organized into a system." -- Emil Brunner

    by goinsouth on Wed Jun 30, 2010 at 04:17:28 PM PDT

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